They say the average person fears public speaking
more than death. Until recently, I would have welcomed death in the place of giving a speech. Here are a few tips that make the difference between a killer presentation and a presentation that's a killer:
- Rehearse!, Rehearse!, Rehearse! The quality of your presentation will generally be proportional to the time you spend practicing; this is the single best way to have a good presentation. When practicing, picture yourself speaking to a group. If you imagine yourself giving the speech, you can trick your brain into reacting as you would in real life. You can then get accustomed to your body's reactions and gain control of them. Practicing infront of a mirror is useful to check mouth enunciation, as is taping and analyzing yourself. Better yet is to practice with people you're comfortable with and get their feedback.
- Familiarize yourself with props When you get up to give your presentation, you will want to be as comfortable as possible with all your surroundings. If your presentation involves a demonstration of a product or device, make double sure you can manipulate the item for all to see while you are explaining it. It also pays off to practice in the room you will be using, and/or the equipment you will employ. Presentation aids, such as overhead and LCD projectors, along with overheads or Powerpoint, can make or break a presentation. Get familiar with their controls.
- Expect the unexpected This sound cliche, but glitches have a bad habit of turning up at presentations. Does that power outlet work? Is there a sound system? Does the sound system work? What will you do if the projector bulb burns out? How long does the projector (LCD) need to warm up? Is there a computer to run Powerpoint? Does the computer accept CD-ROMS or ZIP disks? Think through everything that could go wrong and mentally prepare yourself for it. Take along that back-up copy of your presentation files and have extra expendables, such as projector bulbs.
- Memorize your introduction The introduction is always the toughest. You'll probably be at least a bit nervous at first and it will take the length of your introduction to warm up. Memorizing the introduction ensures a good start. Once your into your presentaion, it's easier to use cue cards or even use some ad-lib.